Smoke on the Lodge Keeps Food on Crowded Weekend Menu

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The first weekend in April doesn’t lack for organized events: More than 200,000 people flock to the Flowertown Festival, and another 40,000 people compete in the Cooper River Bridge Run. Thousands more attend the Family Circle Cup. But for leisure-seekers who care most about food, Smoke at the Lodge may well be the weekend’s marquee gathering.

Now in its 11th year, the hotly-contested barbecue contest is the Summerville Masonic Lodge’s biggest fundraiser. While it occurs on the outskirts of the Flowertown Festival, it’s not affiliated with the event: It’s a stand-alone campaign to raise money for the Masons’ chosen cause (this year, juvenile diabetes is the beneficiary.) Gregg Griffiths, master of the lodge, is reluctant to say just how much money the two-day event generates, lest he spoil the surprise when his lodge presents its donation at a district meeting, but suggests the figure’s in five-digit territory.

For attendees, though, the value is apparent. The night before the Boston butt competition is judged, the 25 participating teams enter an “anything but” cook-off, in which the only rule is “no pork.” The teams sell samples for $1 apiece, making the Friday night food fair one of the area’s most affordable culinary events. Continue reading

Tonight’s Taste of the Market Tackles Oyster Theme

Although this month’s Taste of the Market oyster theme challenged restaurants which don’t serve seafood, 14 venues are participating in tonight’s food-sampling event.

“Unfortunately, we do not have an Oyster frozen yogurt,” reports a representative of Sweet CeCe’s Frozen Yogurt and Treats, which plans to scoop flavors including pineapple, chocolate and salted caramel popcorn.

The City Market Hospitality Association and Charleston Culinary Tours last year introduced the monthly event, held in the Palmetto Carriage Company lot on Anson Street. Designed to lure eaters back downtown, Taste of the Market features live music, gift card raffles and beer, in addition to the snacks. Continue reading

Attendance Up at Southern Living Taste of Charleston

chstentSunday’s fine weather contributed to an uptick in attendance at Southern Living Taste of Charleston, an annual event hosted by the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association.

More than 7000 people visited Boone Hall for this year’s edition of the sampling bonanza, according to an admission estimate just released by the GCRA.

“It is a little bit up from previous years,” spokesperson Kaili Howard says.

Les Dames Raises Funds for Culinary Scholarships

Les Dames d’Escoffier is now selling tickets for its annual fundraiser, an evening eat-and-drink sampling which benefits the groups’ scholarship fund.

The 36-year old philanthropic organization of female leaders in the food-and-beverage industry in 2005 established a Charleston chapter, which is hosting An Autumn Affair for the third time. The Oct. 3 event at Lowndes Grove Plantation will feature live music, wine tasting, member book sales and silent auction. The food lineup includes Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, Cacao’s Artisan Chocolates, Celia’s of Charleston and Empanada Mama.

Tickets to the event, which runs from 6 p.m.-9 p.m., cost $55 and are available at ldeicharleston.com.

New Tasting Event Near Market

For tourists who can’t choose which restaurant near the City Market should get their weekend dining dollars, the new monthly Taste of the Market event should be a boon.

Starting this Thursday, 10 restaurants will set up sampling tents and tables in the Palmetto Carriage Company Lot from 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Neighborhood stores will also be represented, and organizers are planning chef demos and live music.

Presented by the City Market Hospitality Association and Charleston Culinary Tours, the event features food from Lowcountry Bistro, The Peanut Shop of Charleston, Noisy Oyster, Mad River, AW Shucks, Wild Wing Café, Tabbuli, Charleston Crab House, Henry’s and Burwell’s Stone Fire Grill. A sample from each vendor is included in the $10 adult ticket price.

Taste of the Market will return on the third Thursday of every month.